My blog I've ignored for 2 years while attending the Brandcenter
My name is Ray Tolbert, named after two men on my father’s side. The first, my great uncle Raymond, killed in France during WW2. The second, my uncle Raymond who died only a couple of months after being born. Not surprisingly, my mom was a tad hesitant on naming her new son Raymond considering the short life spans of previous owners of that name.
They compromised and dropped the “mond” and settled on “Ray.” 37 years later and it appears to have worked.
I have never met another Ray Tolbert, but with the arrival of Google and social media, I have learned that there are plenty of them out there.
The most popular being the Ray Tolbert that played basketball at Indiana University and five seasons in the NBA.
Over the years, I’ve received emails from Netflix, a couple of banks thanking me for opening an account, and even a yarn newsletter thanking me for signing up with them which was all a surprise to me because I never did sign up for these.
Some other Ray Tolberts out there signs up for something and puts my Gmail address down as theirs. It’s usually a minor annoyance that clears up rather fast when that Ray Tolbert realizes he’s not receiving any emails or can’t log into his account for some reason.
Last week it happened again, but this time it was on a more personal level. Out of the blue, I received an email with the following picture from someone named Sheila.
I was confused for a couple of reasons.
1. I didn’t know who was emailing me.
2) They mention “Jack” which is my son’s name and
3) the subject of this email is “Sadie” which was the name of my wife’s childhood dog.
All of these were confusing to me and lead me to text my wife asking if she and Jack were with someone named Shelia and her small dog.
Before I heard back from my wife another email arrived, but this time it was just another image of her dog.
By now my wife texted back asking what I was talking about and if I started drinking at work. Jack was with her, and they were at the house with our other kid, and no one named Shelia or her dog was with them.
I looked closer at the first photo and realized that the leg that “Sadie” was standing next to might be Jack’s but just not my Jack. By the size of his foot and his choice in slippers, I’d guess this Jack was a much much older Jack.
The next email received a few seconds later contained a photo that confirmed my hunches.
Followed quickly by another picture…
Okay, I think I’ve had enough of Sadie. Sure, she’s a cute dog, but now you’re dressing her up, and I don’t want to see these anymore. I wrote Shelia back trying just to keep it simple.
Shelia was undeterred. She hit me with another pic of Sadie. This time being held by someone named “JJ”.
Followed by a double tap of Sadie cuteness…
This time I tried a more direct approach.
It didn’t work.
Let’s try this again.
Not quite getting it yet.
I needed to put an end to this.
I was hoping I didn’t freak Shelia out so I decided to return the favor…
The final email from Shelia…
Godspeed Sheila. The internet is a wonderful world. You take care of Sadie and Jack and tell that other Ray Tolbert to give you the right email address.
– The Ray Tolbert
established 2013, curated by the Hour After Happy Hour Writing Workshop
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Mr. Fenske is a professor at VCU Brandcenter in Richmond VA. The site is an extension of his efforts in the classroom, except for the cartoons, which seem to grow out of some disaffection he feels with the world. Thank you for visiting. © Mark Fenske
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